Fascinating Things : Issue 49

As you will be well aware,  if you read this nonsense on a regular basis, there is a lot of new music out there which barely gets the recognition it deserves. It is a sad indictment of the increasingly polarised music mainstream that a handful of artists dominate the media when arguably more talented folk don’t get a look in. The so called arbiters of taste peddle the promo gubbins that pluggers and labels zap their way. When I listen to some of the dross that gets peddled on so called hip radio or red buttons I get a tad grumpy.

I’m also acutely aware of the passage of time and the regular repackaging of formats so that material from across the long history of my music listening regularly reappears in what is the latest “hip” format. Following the deification of vinyl over the last year or so the CD lovers (of which I am one) have started the inevitable fight back against what must be the biggest con job the music industry have foisted on the public since 8-track cartridges. There will be several friends and acquaintances that will vilify me for calling out the great god Vinyl but I remain convinced that the great listening public have been tricked into purchasing music in a format that has inherent built in obsolescence and is horribly overpriced as well as being bad for the environment and taking up far to much space. Whatever, it’s all about opinion, if you want to  collect vinyl because it fills you with misty eyed nostalgia of a time, in the vast majority of cases when you were not  even born,  and where music was more legitimate because it was played on a  dansette, that’s fine with me. I don’t recall it being much fun picking up a copy of “Selling England By The Pound” at the shop on Piccadilly Station approach and having to take it back several times because of the skips, jumps and crackles. As things stand I couldn’t possibly afford a home that could house all the vinyl versions of the music I have collected over the years, CDs are pushing it a bit space wise but I can just about accommodate them, MP3s on external hard discs are the most convenient option as the moment.

I must reference the sad death of Keith Emerson. ELP have got a bad press over the years, and I would be the first to admit that after “Brain Salad Surgery” my interest in them waned, not helped by that completely over the top BBC feature on them and their touring excesses. Notwithstanding that Emerson’s early work with The Nice still stands up well and the first four ELP releases had some fine moments. I saw the band twice. The first time was at the Oval in 1972 when “Tarkus” had just been released; on the day they stole a march on Genesis with Peter Gabriel in his red dress and foxes head (Foxtrot had just come out), with two giant Tarkuses appearing on stage. The second gig was in 1974 -ish I think  at a cavernous Wembley Arena where the band were reduced to mere cyphers and which more or less put me off stadium gigs for life. Emerson, for all the faults of ELP at their worst, was a fine showman and his marriage of classical music, jazz and rock was innovative.

Enough of my ramblings what can I share with you this week which you may not have heard elsewhere, or isn’t getting the wider attention it deserves? :

  • Southern Lord will be bringing back the early work of Wolfbrigade (then Wolfpack) in a trilogy of reissues encompassing the Swedish d-beat hard core goups first three LPs (A New Dawn Fades, Lycanthro Punk and Allday Hell), which will be available from April 15th, as well as a boxset including the remaining two EPs released before their name change. This marks 20 years since the release of their first two records Bloodstained Dreams and A New Dawn Fades. Expect a new album from the band later in 2016.
  • Formed in Liverpool in 2014, Indie Pop/Rock band Seprona practice in an abandoned pub on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre where they have locked themselves away, writing profically. Each band member brings their own influences to Seprona’s sound, but the band agree that the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Interpol and Radiohead are their common denominators. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seprona
  • I got sent the below with absolutely no information other than the soundcloud link, which would normally put me off, but I was impressed by the sounds so I thought I would share it and let you have the fun of finding out more. It reminded me of early Phillip Glass in places, which is no bad thing.
  • Lauren from the ever excellent Rarely Unable says “The collaboration between Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Bitchin Bajas shares a passion for arresting the moment in the process of now. Their ability to stretch time, coupled with their ability to explore and meditate on words, make them the most pertinent of partners. On Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties, they combine forces to travel down a celestial path that knows no bounds – won’t you follow?” You can watch a video at another site as I have nothing I can embed for you. It’s Will Oldham cast in a new light, which is no bad thing, and there are echoes of Neil Young in some of it, but the Bajas influence is strong and good. It’s out on March 18th and you can pre-order it here.
  • After a bit of a hiatus the eclecticians at Superstar Detroyer as back with their unique brand of math and madness. They have just released I.I.A.H.S.W.E.S EP by BRITNEY which is a riotous melange of chunky red zone bass and heavy percussion in a Beastie Boys punk soup with a sprinkling of post punk overkill and the occasional dip into manic piano distress. Fascinating and slightly disturbing. Also new on the label, on April 11th, but with nowt to embed from it, is  the excellent Polymath with an album entitled “Melencholia”..
  • The refreshingly heavy duo Rusty G’s are back with a full length album and a new single. Having got quite excited about them last year I can confirm that the band have continued their fine run of form with some blistering rock noise. A hell of a bg sound for a pair of people and well worth some of your time. They have a small tour coming up and are well worth checking out.
  • Ghold return  with a new album PYR (Ritual Productions, 7th May), which also marks the band’s first recording as a trio with multi-instrumentalist/guitarist Oliver Martin. They play Islington Mill, Salford on May 11th as part of a run of dates. More info to follow on the release but its out 7th May on LP, DIGI and CD formats, the latter comes with a bonus track.
  • I have been featuring the new Rangda release (as well as working my way though their back catalogue) over the last few podcast. I was pleased to get an interesting video of The Sin Eaters from the new one “The Heretics Bargain”.  I’ve seen a couple of bad reviews of the album which I thought were a tad mealy mouthed, this is good stuff and continues the work of some fine exponents of multi guitar rock.
  • As previously mentioned Moulettes are a Brighton based British band of Björk, Frank Zappa and Gentle Giant loving multi-instrumentalists that weave in and out of several genres with 3 part harmony female vocals, amplified Cello, distorted Bassoon, Auto-Harp, Guitar, Drums, Bass and Synths into an incomparable alt.pop/rock/folk universe. Since the success of ‘Constellations’ (No.7 Indie Charts, Spiral Earth Best Album 2014), Bajian Irish Londoner Raevennan Husbandes has joined the band on Vocals and Electric Guitar. With this new line-up the band have made their fourth Album ‘Preternatural.’ Sadly they have failed to send anything through to share but you can pre-order it in several formats over at their website.
  • Seven years on from 2009’s Afterlife EP, Amenra are to release a new collection of songs, titled “Alive”, a counterpoint to the band’s Mass series, featuring brand new compositions and cover songs, as well as appearances from special guests and additional musicians. This marks their second acoustic release, and first live release.It was recorded at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels by Hein Devos, and mastered by Frederic Alstadt. You can hear a track in advance of its release below. More details regarding tracklisting and release dates will be shared in the near future. Alive is set for release at Roadburn Festival, with all pre-orders scheduled to ship in the week following the festival. Pre-orders will be available via Consouling Sounds. Hypnotic stuff.
  • Almost three years in the making, ‘Soundtrack Doom’ band Merrin have  released their follow up to 2013’s “Doom Cinema”. “Midnight Movies! is a 6 track collection of songs inspired by late night movies. Everything from horror, to kung fu, to post apocalyptic action movies and the plain bizarre, the band have broadened their scope beyond simply rehashing Goblin scores  to deliver something more unique, unpredictable, cinematic and very much in the spirit of the films they take inspiration from. It is also the first release to be recorded with a full band present for the entire session. The result is an album that sounds heavier and more driven than before, featuring Chris Purdie on all guitars, Arturs Reirs on Drums and Misha Hering on Synth, the band sounds bigger and more epic.
  • Joy abounds with news of a new Melvins album and it sounds like a cracker. The band, who have a history of imaginative line-up changes, feature not one, but six different bass players on their appropriately titled new album, “Basses Loaded” (June 3, Ipecac Recordings).  The collection features Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover joined by Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, Butthole Surfers’ J.D. Pinkus, Big Business’ Jared Warren, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn (aka Melvins Lite) and Crover swapping the drum kit for bass in the Melvins 1983 iteration. Here is a taster via Rolling Stone. They will be back in Europe in the summer, the only date pencilled in so far is in Bristol but hopefully more will follow.
  • The duo of Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59, under the banner of The Poisoned Glass, have released the video for ‘Toil And Trouble’ ahead of the launch of their debut album 10 SWORDS on April 22nd via Ritual Productions. The video uses footage of a performance of the work of Bauhaus artist and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer – the surreal costume design and faceless dancers mesh with The Poisoned Glass’ aesthetic, which echoes Peter Hammill at his most cinematic and intense. I’m looking forward to the album based on this teaser.
  • ……..and to close Richard Citroen & Stephanie B, aka Lola Dutronic are back with a new video from the excellent “Lost In Translation” album – a marvellous band.
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Fascinating Things : Issue 47

And so here we are again with a pile of new stuff to wander through. It’s been a busy year so far with little time to properly absorb the vast array of excellent new things that have arrived, so in order to catch up here is quick list of recommended things……

  • Tulipomania’s fourth album ‘This Gilded Age’ was released on February 26, 2016 and is pretty damn fine….if you are not sucked in by the moody opener “Hold On” then I fear for your mortal soul dear reader!
  • Previously featured Milton Keynes duo The Rusty G’s have their debut album ‘Low’ out on 9th May. It’s take no prisoners blues-rock with a grunge backbone throughout. Great! They play Gullivers in Manchester on 31st May as part of an eleven date UK tour. White Stripes meets Nirvana…..
  •  Corrina Jane (who I think I featured back in the radio days, unless there’s another Corinna Jane out there) has been getting some national recognition and no surprising given her penchant for catchy pop ditties. This tune is out on February 29th presaging four dates in March, one in the peoples republic of Moulton in sunny Northampton, I wonder if my chum The Great Gibbo will be attending. Anyhow this is a bit of a guilty pleasure one.
  • Mamiffer (the duo of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner [Sumac, Old Man Gloom]) have shared the second single from their dynamic and compelling new album The World Unseen, due out April 1st on their own SIGE Records. No embed code on this one so you’ll have to jump over there yourself. On this evidence sounds like an interesting album to grab when it arrives.
  • The excellent David “Yorkie” Palmer is back with a new Moongoose album called ‘Missives from the Memory Machine’ and bloody good it is too. Expect the usual stunning aural adventures as rock and electronica mix seemlessly to create a joyous adventure. It knocks the increasingly repetitive Public Service Broadcasting into a cocked hat (whatever one of those is).
  • Shauna from Shameless (and faves Ummagma) sent through news of a new EP from The Veldt. ‘The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur’ is a 5-track set, and the band comprises  identical twins Daniel and Danny Chavis, along with Hayato Nakao. This is their first EP as The Veldt in 20 years,  combining soul, shoegaze, RnB, and alternative rock. They were also previously known as Apollo Heights and are known for their long-term collaborative relationship with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), who produced several previous releases. To be released on vinyl, CD and digially via UK-based Leonard Skully Records. You’ll be able to get your grubby paws on it on March 18th,
  • The British connoisseurs of guitar driven alternative rock release news of their forthcoming April 2016 UK tour. Joining the Bath (UK) based Scout Killers on their crusade across English cities are support acts Amongst Thieves and The Loose Cut. The 5 piece outfit of Scott Cox (Vox), Julien Morrez (Guitar/vox), Beau Stevens (Guitar), Josh Ellis (Bass) and Chris Phillips (Drums)head out on tour following the release their latest single ‘Rip Me Apart’ out 28th March 2016. Having made loyal fans through extensive touring and their acclaimed 2014 EP – ‘Stand Your Ground’, Scout Killers are fresh out of the recording studio with new material to unleash during this year. Expect huge sonics, atmospheric guitar work and emotive vocals from the band who effectively know how to create anthemic rock tracks. They play Manchester Aatma on 9th April. Might be a bit too epic indie for some but it has a certain something.
  • Previously featured Aussie Hayden Calnin has put out ‘Cut Love Pt. 1’ which  is the first part of his  soon to be released debut album due for release in early March. It’s fascinating left field stuff.  Unfortunately for you the playlist is private so I can’t embed anything but fear not there are some tracks on next week but ones Aural Delights podcast. People who like Sigur Ros will love this stuff.

HC_CutLove_Album

  • Chorley’s Taser Puppets are back on March 18th with a four track EP called ‘Fossil’ via German Shepherd. With the flute now firmly embedded in the band’s sound this is a huge step forward for Shaun Ali Bongo and co. Highly recommended and here’s a taster.
  • French artist Fabian Aubry aka At Dawn We Are Kings has a new collection out called ‘Night Swim’  – a slight move on from his earlier releases this is strong material with a rich emotional content. You can grab it on I-Tunes. Fabian tells me he is relocating to Bristol soon, so hopefully there will be some UK dates from this talented chap.

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Nu Grunge?

Rusty G’s

Don’t Belong

There’s a type of music I grew up with in the East Midlands around the Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, and Buckinghamshire tri-county area which is grounded in the blues, and most of the time emerges as hard rock. Occasionally you’ll get a Bauhaus slipping through the net but when I was growing there in the early 70s it was all about the big beasts like Zeppelin, Quo, Sabbath and Purple. The pubs and clubs were full of bands like Stray, who fed off the blues tradition and created a scene dominated by levis, leather jackets and motorbikes. Indeed  the villages and county towns of the area have a long legacy of creating riff/chord driven bands that produce no nonsense rock music. That tradition is still very much alive with a duo called Rusty G’s.

Rusty G’s are James Finch and Dan Lopez, they are based in Milton Keynes.  The alternative Grunge rockers  first hit the local music scene in late 2007 with a desire to “create rock music that sounded fresh and unique with a wide array of influences”. Since forming, the band have played hundreds of shows nationwide, increasing their fan base. WIth an impressive CV of gigs such as performing with the likes of; Australian rockers Electric Mary, grunge-indie band Nine Black Alps, Johnny Foreigner, Dead Sons and The Weeks (Kings of Leon label-mates), their biggest show to date was in front of an audience of 5,000 people at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. The duo are  fresh off the road from touring with Steve Conte, former guitarist of the legendary ‘New York Dolls’.

The boys are also no strangers to the media, shown by their impressive features in the local heroes section of Kerrang! Magazine and US magazine ‘Stitched Sound’ along-side The All American Rejects among others. On top of this, the band have received some great airplay on BBC Introducing (Three Counties) and BBC Northampton.

Much of 2014 saw huge activity in the recording studio. The outcome is a much more accomplished and mature sound.  Despite the bands creative energy in the studio, in August 2014 Dan and James unfortunately had to say farewell to long serving bassist and founding member Tom . Dan and James however were left undeterred and were determined to continue on. So the search commenced for a new bass player. After many months of searching for the right person and the right sound, things proved more difficult than first hoped. Eventually the boys took the decision not to recruit a new bassist.

Rusty Gs

‘Don’t Belong’ out on 26th October, finds the young rockers drawing on past influences for super charged guitar riffs and thunderous drums, recalling the likes of the Foo-Fighters, Nirvana and other favourites of the Seattle grunge scene . The single brings a no holds barred, chord driven immediacy with an anthemic edge.

There’s a possible debate out there somewhere as to whether it’s timely to bring Grunge back onto the scene. With veterans like Tad reappearing in various guises, and Melvins still pursuing their singular rock and roll journey there ought to be room for these lads to make a big name for themselves.  It’s also very refreshing to hear a guitarist/vocalist not trying to be Matt Bellamy, and willing to stamp his own identity on the scene.

You can catch Rusty G’s this Autumn alongside guitar legend Bernie Torme.

  • 23rd October Southbeach Hotel, Troon
  • 24th October Bannermans, Edinburgh
  • 31st October The Borderline, London
  • 14st November The Prince Albert, Brighton

Website – http://www.rustygs.co.uk
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RustyGs
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/Rustygs